The Undesirables By Chad Thumann

In the winter of 1941–1942, Leningrad is under siege, and Karen Hamilton, a seventeen-year-old American musician, finds herself trapped and struggling to survive. Throughout the city, people are dying of starvation and frostbite, and Karen knows that if she doesn’t escape immediately, she will share their fate. If she has any hope of leaving Russia and reuniting with her fiancé, Bobby, in New York, she must do the impossible: cross enemy lines and then stow away.

On her harrowing journey, Karen encounters Petr, a young conscripted Russian soldier. She isn’t sure she can trust him—he is equally wary of her. But as the two join forces in order to stay alive, an unexpected romance takes root.

Now, as Karen gets closer to the reality of escape, she has a choice to make: Will she return to a safe life in America with Bobby, or remain in war-torn Russia with Petr? The Undesirables

Chad Thumann ✓ 0 Free read

I would like to thank NetGalley and Lake Union Publishers for the ARC of The Undesirables by Chad Thurmann. I enjoyed and would recommend this historical fiction with romantic overtones as an intriguing read. The plot of the story takes place around 1941-1942 In Leningrad at the time of Stalin. The story starts in American when Bobby, one of the characters meets Karen a cellist., and they connect and promise to be together although they are young. Karen leaves with her father a composer to Russia,where he is working in Leningrad on a compositional piece of music.Karen's father dies, and conditions in Leningrad have become bleak and dismal. Karen meets Petr, a young Russian soldier, who is regarded as a hero. In an attempt to survive, Karen and Petr avoid the oncoming Germans, and the stark Russian conditions, and travel together. Meanwhile Bobby is flying planes for the AirForce,and is headed to Alaska. Karen's goal is to get back to America. The three characters do meet, and there is an opportunity to possibly fly Karen to America. There is a hint of a triangle in the relationships,as well as conflict. Karen loves both Bobby and Petr, Does Karen go with Bobby or stay and fight with Petr? War makes for difficult times and decisions. I did find the historical history and descriptions very interesting 1503939960 The Undesirables by Chad Thumann is an exciting, suspenseful book which is set during the Siege of Leningrad. Karen is a young cellist who is trapped in Leningrad because her father is working with a famous Russian composer. She is determined to find a way out.

The book is one of shifting perspectives between Karen, Petr, a young Russian soldier and Bobby an American pilot.

This is a good book but not a great book as much as I enjoyed reading it. I rated it down one half point because, it clearly is in need of a sequel and the author promises one, but it hasn't yet been published. 1503939960 The Undesirables by Chad Thumann is the historical romance/coming of age story that I've been searching for.

Karen is a beautiful girl, with dark hair and brown eyes. She's an American, but speaks Russian fluently without a trace of an accent. Her mother was a Russian ballerina, who passed away when Karen was only ten-years-old, and her father, an American musician/symphony conductor. She is a renowned celloist, and finds herself in love with Bobby- two years her senior. She accepts his marriage proposal shortly after they begin dating, and is excited about her future with him.

Everything changes when Karen's father decides to follow his love of music and moves to Leningrad, taking Karen with him. Russia's Leningrad falls under the control of German soldiers, and the brutal cold weather brings famine, desperation and death.

As conditions deteriorate inside Leningrad, Karen is forced to forge and plan her escape on her own. Along the way she meets a Russian soldier Petr, and forms an unlikely friendship with him as they continue to pursue their shared goal of survival. She struggles internally as her feelings for Petr begin to grow, all the while knowing she has left a promise to Bobby back home in the United States.

I loved the detailed writing and separate accounts given from the views of the different characters. I would say this book is not solely based on the romance aspect of the story, but mainly to be focused on each character's desire for survival...a beautifully nuanced telling of a girl's journey from innocence to adulthood, and coming to terms with life during wartime.

Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to review this book in advance in exchange for an unbiased, honest review. 1503939960 Exciting, non-stop action, romance and suspense are highlights of this free Kindle Goodreads giveaway. Karen is a gifted cellist, her father is a composer. They move to Leningrad to write a symphony with another well know composer.. They enure the horrors of the German blockade of Leningrad. Karen meets Petr, a Russian soldier and his trained soldier-dog, Duck. She still remembers her American fiance whom she hasn't seen in a very long time. After they travel, she begins to care for Petr and Duck. This was a great and wonderful historical yard. You will love it. 1503939960 I would like to thank Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for allowing me to review this incredible historical fiction novel The Undesirables by Chad Thumann. The story of an American musician, trapped in the invaded Leningrad in WWII, and her tale of survival, difficult to put down. I highly recommend this book, which is a beautifully told story, as well as educational one, of the many fronts and circumstances of this time era. 1503939960

Winter 1941 - 1942

Leningrad is under siege

Karen had first noticed the old woman a week and a half ago, and at the time she hadn’t even realized the woman was dead.  The old woman lay at the base of an ornate fountain sculpture.  Her face was as pale as the white granite of the statues she was crumpled against, and at first Karen thought she was part of the stone sculpture.  Karen saw the woman’s cadaver every day on the way to the bakery.  And she couldn’t help but stop and stare.

Then one day the old woman’s corpse was gone…………

Karen is a seventeen year old American cellist who has followed her father to Leningrad where he has been collaborating with the famous Russian composer Shostakovich.  That is until Shostakovich fled  and now her father is dead and Karen does not know how to bury his body so it does not suffer the same fate as the old woman.  And here she is all alone, hungry, freezing and trapped in a city under siege.  

Petr was 19 years old when he was drafted from a little village east of Moscow.  These days the Russian army considered him a hero, but that was not how Petr saw it.  He was simply tired of marching, marching, retreating, marching and retreating again.  It seemed to Petr that he had marched all the way across Russia and now the Germans were intent on making him march all the way back.   Something had to be done.
Petr’s dog was named Duck.  He was an 84 pound Alsatian wolf dog, larger than most mine dogs.  The military had requisitioned Duck after he had lived with a family for three years.  The Red Army agent did not tell them that Duck would be strapped to a bomb and trained how to blow himself up.  Problem was, Petr liked Duck.

Bobby Campbell first met Karen in New York City in the winter of 1939.  He was attending a concert that complimented his music history class.  That week’s subject was Russian composers and the concert was Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.  He had never heard music quite like this before but he liked it.  He was also drawn to an impassioned cello player, who was both beautiful and talented, so once the concert was over Bobby took his date home and returned to the backstage door of the concert intent on meeting the beautiful cellist.  Theirs was a whirlwind romance and by the summer of 1940, before Karen departed for Leningrad they became engaged.

This is the first WWII book that I have read that focuses on the German invasion of Russia and as such it was an eye opening experience for me.  Among the many things I learned  about were: the Land-Lease route from Alaska to Siberia, the female Russian pilots who flew the planes to the front lines and the Russian use of mine dogs to blow up German tanks. Told from the perspective of the above noted characters the viewpoint moves from America to Moscow to Leningrad, from survivor to soldier, to ally.  The ravages of war laid bare before my eyes as I read and learned more about the fates of these three people.

The siege of Leningrad lasted from September of 1941 to 1944.  More than 1.5 million residents lost their lives.  Human losses exceeded those of the atomic bombings of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

My thanks to Lake Union Publishing, NetGalley and Chad Thumann for an opportunity to read this book.  

This is Chad Thumann’s first novel and I have no hesitation recommending it.   1503939960 This book was pure boredom. Boring boring boredom. So full of it that I think it was not built of words, but boring bricks of boredom.

I like the sound of that. Let's go over it brick by brick:

- I'm sure there's nothing wrong with the writing. If this was a non-fiction book. I can't point out anything wrong in particular! Except that it was supposed to be emotional and gripping,and yet it found me yawning.

- the romance was utter killing boredom. How do you even make romance that dull, I mean?

So maybe it's just me, but meh. If you want a dull book, read this.

P.S. If I'm honest, I would say that most of the historical research was done well. Apart from some little things. For example, I'm pretty sure there was no such thing as creamed corn in Soviet Russia. My country was in the Soviet Union and the first time I heard about creamed corn was like 25 years after its fall. I still had to Google what it even is. We just don't have that thing in these regions.
For that matter, I don't think crackers were a thing either. I only found out about those like 10 years after our country left the Union.

P.P.S. The part when Karen says My name is Inna Kerensky. Yeah, maybe if you're transgender it is. Kerensky is a strictly male version of the surname (the female version is Kerenskaya). I mean, if you're hiding the fact that you're American in wartime Russia, maybe, just MAYBE introducing yourself with a mistake in your surname is just not the way to go..? Lack of research, I guess.

I got this book through NetGalley in exchange for a review, but I suppose you can see the opinions are my own and it didn't quite work out too well for the publisher, huh. For some reviews of better books, head on to my blog at 1503939960 Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Chad Thumann’s The Undersireables stood out. WWII fiction is easy enough to find, but stories set in Russia aren’t as common as those set in England, Germany, or France and I captivated and intrigued by the premise presented in the jacket description. I’d never heard of the author, but I took a chance in requesting it and was happy to receive an ARC from Lake Union Publishing.

Historically speaking, the novel is breathtaking. Thumann’s descriptions of Leningrad are stark, but I was thoroughly impressed by how the author captured the realities of the situation through the eyes of a stranded American woman. I also appreciated how he balanced the challenges faced by civilians against the action and brutality of survival on the front lines. The details are fascinating and I think Thumann did an amazing job recreating the period for his readers.

I found the cast interesting, but slightly less dynamic. Karen is driven, but she is also selfish and rather single-minded. I didn’t admire her at all and frequently found myself rolling my eyes over her decisions. Petr had moments, but I found his character one dimensional and Bobby had potential, but he was noticeably less developed than the other narrators and I thought that damaged the intensity of the love triangle at the heart of the story. That said, I was quite impressed with members of the supporting cast. Inna, Sasha, Lenka, Krause, and Duck fascinated me and I found myself intrigued by the personalities and story lines Thumann created for them.

The pacing lent an addictive quality to the text and I found myself oddly satisfied with both climax and conclusion of the narrative. The Undersirables is a very different kind of war story, but I greatly enjoyed the time I spent with it and can easily see myself recommending it to other readers. 1503939960 Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the free, electronic ARC of this novel.
“The Undesirables” is the first novel by author Chad Thurmann. This historical fiction novel is set during the Second World War, in the Russian town of Leningrad. Karen is an American living in Leningrad with her father, a renowned composer, desperately looking for a way to return to her fiancée in America. After her father is killed, Karen heads out into the war torn country, practically starving, with the hopes of escaping and finding a better life. What she finds instead is Petr, a Russian soldier, and the two of them (along with Duck, the dog) make the quest to safety together, through the dangerous Russian countryside.
This novel is very historical, and not so much romantic fiction. The story focuses primarily on the state of the world and society in both America and Europe (primarily Russia), and if a reader has a great interest in this era in history, than this novel would be interesting. I took interest in this novel for that reason (my ancestors being from Russia, I was intrigued by their plight during this time) however I do not see this novel being exciting to the common reader. The love triangle between Petr, Karen and Bobby is a great story and is told well, but it is intermixed with historical elements and irrelevant characters that make the novel less appealing.
I would’ve loved to read a whole novel on the love triangle aspect alone. All three characters are charming, passionate and brave. Karen, especially, is someone who is completely relatable and shines as the novel’s protagonist. However, Thurmann interrupts her plot line with stories from others during that time, who are nowhere near as alluring. A focus on the romantic elements would have made the story read less like a history textbook.
Thurmann is definitely a writer though, as his writing style is smooth and consistent, with creative transitions and understandable language. If nothing else, this novel provided me with a bit more knowledge than I had before- and there’s never anything wrong with learning a thing or two. The novel had a bittersweet ending, which helped wrap up the plot in a very satisfying and succinct way. I will definitely try and read Thurmann again, as it is evident that the underlying talent is there. I am a fan of historical fiction in general, but I hope Thurmann’s next work will be more exciting and dramatic and less historical.
(On a side note, I post this on Remembrance Day, and I would like to send a very special thank you to all of our Canadian and ally troops, here or away, past or present. Lest We Forget).
1503939960 Duck was hands down the best character. Hands down. 1503939960